Young Tigers annihilated, Hassan refuses to hit panic button

Young Tigers coach Hassan Sazali has claimed that it’s still too early to write off his side despite suffering an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Thailand in the semi-final of Asian Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Youth Championships, last evening.

Hassan said the competition was mainly about his team preparing for the qualifying rounds of the AFC Cup in China next month.

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“There is no need for panic right now because this is our final phase of preparations. Based on this tournament, we will be able to identify our weak points and improve on it.”

“Either way, we have already fulfilled our aim to reach the semis in this championship,” he told Arena Metro.

During the match at the National Laos Stadium yesterday, Thailand put three goals past Malaysia’s defence in the first half, courtesy of Ritthidet Phensawat in the 36th minute, Worachit Kanitsribampen (43rd minute) and Sansern Limwatthana (45th minute).

Thailand began their second half in the same momentum and managed to add two more goals with 45 minutes left to play, with Ritthidet getting his second goal of the match before Suksan Mungpao completed the big win in the 71st minute.

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“Few of my main players were injured, so I had to make several changes to the formation. The players gave their best, but they were facing a far stronger Thailand team,” Hassan added.

The Young Tigers will face hosts Laos in the deciding third place playoff, after they were outclassed by Vietnam’s Ha Duc Chinh, who scored a hattrick to help his country record a 4-0 win. Vietnam will now meet Thailand in the final.

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